Basil Pistou from Julia Child
This is an old recipe that’s been removed from my site, but I am keeping the printer-friendly version of the recipe here in case anyone was a fan. You can check out Basil Pesto with Lemon or Cooking with Fresh Basil if you’re a big fresh basil fan.
(Recipe amounts make about 1 cup of pistou.)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (very firmly packed into measuring cup)
- 3 T chopped fresh garlic (or use garlic puree from a jar, although Julia would probably not approve)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp.)
- Wash and dry basil leaves and put in food processor. (This sauce can also be made with in small batches in a mortar and pestle if you’re feeling ambitious.)
- Add garlic and salt and process until basil is finely chopped (close to a minute, depending on your food processor.)
- Add oil and process only a few pulses (or remove the chopped basil to a bowl and stir in the oil, which is what I would do if I was only making one batch.)
- Place pistou into individual freezer-proof plastic containers with a tight lid. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the pistou in each container.
- I recommend putting a label and the date on things you put in the freezer, even if you’re “sure” you will remember what it is!
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37 Comments on “Basil Pistou from Julia Child”
Joanne, farmers market????
Margaret, lucky you (and my pleasure to include your soup!)
TW, have to admit I was surprised at how many variations there were, but I went for the pure version!
Katerine, perfect for that!
Sealharvey, what a thrill! Thanks for sharing the memory.
Love basil. The smell wakes me right up. I sponsored a book signing with Julia Child. Not only was she particularly nice to every single person. She also stayed extra and when leaving was approached by
a late customer and again took the time to be kind. She had the biggest turnout of any writer that I sponsored. Seriously lines right out the door.
I sometimes make pistou in the spring and stir it into vegetable soup. Delicious!
I had pistou in a soup last week and was asking myself the same question! Thanks for clearing this up – I am going to grab a bunch more basil at the farm next week and give this a shot.
I've already harvested my basil twice this season, and it's ready for another picking. Thanks for this recipe. (and for the link)
I really like anything pesto-like. I keep kicking myself for not stocking up on basil yet and making massive batches of pesto to freeze!
Nutrid1, basil is easy to grow from seed. I plant a few plants for some early basil and then plant rows of seeds. The only painful part is thinning the little baby plants. If you use seeds, you can have armloads of basil for little cost.
Dhanggit, thanks. Don't you just love the smell of fresh-picked basil?
Oh I love that healthy green look of your basil. So rich in vitamins and yumminess! What a great entry for WHB! Thanks 🙂
Pistou or pesto, it sure is nice to use in a soup in the middle of winter.
You sure have lots of fresh basil in your garden. Nest year, I'll plant more basil…
Dara, the basil is doing pretty well. My garden is finally getting going, but there are so many weeds!
Chris, I'm guessing I have about 30 plants. I start a lot of them from seed, highly recommend it!
Daisy, I've been doing it for years.
Lydia, can't wait to use this in winter.
Kevin, works very well.
Frieda, I agree, that bugs me in a recipe too!
Linda, very similar!
Meghan, perfect for you. Get freezing!
Amy, here's the information on how to freezer fresh basil. You coat the chopped basil with olive oil.
Poulsen family, perfect for nut allergies.
Thanks for sharing that, my son is allergic to nuts and I never realized there was another version without nuts, I'll have to try that out.
Can you tell me how you freeze fresh basil?? I thought if you didn't make it into a pesto or sauce it would turn brown.
I made my pesto pretty traditionally this year – toasted walnuts & pinenuts, parm, olive oil. It's spicy and rich…just incredibly delicious.
This is very funny because I made a Pistou Pizza this past weekend! I'm allergic to pinenuts so pistou is a better option for me than traditional pesto! Thank you for this post, it reminds me I need to start freezing down my basil plant 🙂
Never knew of pistou only pesto, but basil either way.
Thank you for the 'measurement' of basil! I have seen so many recipes that called for 1 lb. or 2 oz….I don't have an accurate scale and one pound sounds like a lot! Also, thanks for the tips on cutting and freezing~
This is the first that I have heard of a pistou sauce but it sounds like a great way to enjoy some basil!
I love having fundamental sauces like this in my freezer. Come the middle of winter, there are so many ways to use it, and it feels like a treat to have the fresh taste of basil from the garden when there's snow on the ground.
Hmmm…freezing fresh basil. I could do that! I've tried bringing my herb plants indoors in the fall, but they never seem to survive the transition.
Good idea. I only have 7 basil plants this year, so I won't have anything left over to save. I'm picking those poor things dry:)
Wow, what a basil crop you have! I'd be quite happy to drizzle this pistou straight into my mouth, but more traditional uses are also very appealing.